US conspiracy theorist Alex Jones must pay $45.2 million in fines to the parents of a 6-year-old boy killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre – on top of the $4.1 million already awarded – for that they falsely claimed the shooting was a hoax, a Texas jury decided.

Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the estranged parents of slain 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, testified that followers of Mr. Jones had harassed them and sent them death threats for years, falsely believing they were lying about their son’s death on Dec. 14, 2012. 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

On Thursday, a 12-person jury decided on damages after a two-week defamation trial presided over by Judge Maya Gerr Gamble in state court in the Texas capital of Austin, where Mr. Jones’ radio show and Infowars webcast are based.

The parents sought $145.9 million in punitive damages and $150 million in compensatory damages.

Compensatory damages are intended to cover the plaintiff’s suffering and loss, while punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant’s actions.

Mr. Jones, who was a prominent figure in American right-wing circles and a supporter of former President Donald Trump, called the Sandy Hook massacre a hoax by the U.S. government, orchestrated by crisis actors as a pretext to target Americans. guns.

“We are asking you to send a very, very simple message, and that is: Stop Alex Jones. Stop monetizing misinformation and lies,” Wesley Todd Ball, the parents’ attorney, earlier told jurors before they began deliberating on punitive damages. .

Jones’ attorney, Federico Andino Reynal, asked the jury to return a $270,000 verdict based on the number of hours Infowars devoted to Sandy Hook coverage.

Forensic economist Bernard Pettingill testified on Friday on behalf of Lewis’ parents that Mr Jones “spread some hate speech and some misinformation” and “made a lot of money”.

Mr. Jones and Infowars are worth a combined $135 million to $270 million, Mr. Pettingill said.

During his testimony, he sought to distance himself from conspiracy theories, apologizing to his parents and admitting that Sandy Hook was “100% real.”

Mr. Jones’ company, Free Speech Systems LLC, filed for bankruptcy last week.

On Monday, he said the filing would help the company stay on the air while it appeals.

The bankruptcy filing put on hold a similar defamation lawsuit by the Sandy Hook parents in Connecticut, where it had already been found liable, as in Texas.

During closing arguments Wednesday, Kyle Farrar, the parents’ attorney, urged jurors to end what he called their nightmare and hold Jones accountable for profiting from their son’s death.

Mr. Reynal acknowledged during his closing argument that Mr. Jones and Infowars had been “irresponsible” in reporting on Sandy Hook, but said his client was not responsible for the harassment.

The plaintiffs also accused Mr. Jones of a bad-faith approach to the trial, citing broadcasts in which he said the trial against him was rigged and that the jury was filled with people who “don’t know what planet they’re on.”

Source link

Previous articleMoody’s published the Italian forecast. Mef, solutione opinabile – Economia
Next articleCanada has confirmed nearly 29,000 new cases of COVID-19 in one week